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Thread: Genetic Genealogy & Ancient DNA in the News (TITLES/ABSTRACTS ONLY)

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    Quote Originally Posted by parasar View Post
    Depending on which populations are meant by "almost all," academia in late 2013 is still behind the genetic genealogy community c. 2010.

    From the above Nicholas Wade article:

    A recent analysis based on the whole genomes, not just mitochondrial DNA, of Jewish communities around the world noted that almost all overlap with non-Jewish populations of the Levant, “consistent with an ancestral Levantine contribution to much of contemporary Jewry.” Dr. Richards said that the finding was compatible with his own, given that the Levantine contribution was not that great.
    The following (sampled) Jewish populations often overlap, in significant part with Assyrians and Iraqi Mandaeans, not Levantine populations:

    Iraqi Jews
    Iranian Jews
    Uzbekistan Jews
    Georgian Jews
    Azerbaijan Jews


    Anyway, thank you for the link to the article and study.

    EDIT:

    In case someone, for whatever reason, suggests that Assyrians are to be included within Wade's "Levant," please review the data found by following this link.
    Last edited by Humanist; 10-08-2013 at 10:50 PM.

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    I'm skeptical of the findings in this study. It is very difficult to use current population distributions to assess place of origin 2000 years ago, especially using mtDNA which has poor time resolution and high variability in date estimates.

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    The conclusions of the paper rely largely on their analysis that mtDNA haplogroup K, or at least some of its oldest branches, originated in Europe. They have a very superficial analysis of modern population distribution which I think is highly uncertain, although I'd like to get Bill's opinion on this. The lack of Mesolithic K in Europe also raises doubts about their conclusions.

    The authors make a strong case for a southwest Asian origin for haplogroup K, quoting from the supplemental note:
    Using the whole mitogenome evidence, we can see that haplogroup K dates to ~36 ka and splits into two primary subclades, K1 and K2 although a single sequence from the South Caucasus appears to fall into a third basal branch. This might hint at a Near Eastern origin for haplogroup K as a whole. A Near Eastern origin for haplogroup K might also be suggested by both the Southwest Asian focus of its sister clade U8b1 and the HVS–I diversity pattern (Supplementary Fig. S2). Given the timing of the appearance of haplogroup K, just prior to the global climatic downturn, an origin in the Near Eastwhich acted as a major reservoir for mtDNA variation during the glacial period might also more plausibly account for its survival than an origin in Europe.
    But then they conclude it is more likely that K originated in Europe, largely based on the pre-U8b sample 31,155 ybp at Dolni Vestonice, and current distributions of some subclades of K.

    They also recognize a problem with their theory that Jewish K subclades originated in Europe:

    The question arises as to why an assimilation founder event might draw in several lineages from a single haplogroup (K) from a presumably diverse source population in Europe.

    I think their conclusions are highly uncertain and very likely incorrect. They need to look more carefully at the possibility of Neolithic and more recent expansions of K out of the Near East.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GailT View Post
    The conclusions of the paper rely largely on their analysis that mtDNA haplogroup K, or at least some of its oldest branches, originated in Europe. They have a very superficial analysis of modern population distribution which I think is highly uncertain, although I'd like to get Bill's opinion on this. The lack of Mesolithic K in Europe also raises doubts about their conclusions.

    ...

    I think their conclusions are highly uncertain and very likely incorrect. They need to look more carefully at the possibility of Neolithic and more recent expansions of K out of the Near East.
    I read through the paper tonight, but have not drawn any conclusions yet. I would be interested to read what Behar is going to say about the paper's conclusions. Apparently, he disagrees with them. I'm not mtDNA K, so it was interesting to see that my own mitogenome (which has been in GenBank for awhile) is specifically mentioned as one of two referenced Ashkenazi Jewish J1c7a (~ 6.5 ka) in Figure 9. These also appear in their full tree from the earlier paper "Mitochondrial DNA signals of Late Glacial re-colonization of Europe from Near Eastern refugia" Pala et al. (2012).
    Last edited by seferhabahir; 10-09-2013 at 05:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seferhabahir View Post
    I'm not mtDNA K, so it was interesting to see that my own mitogenome (which has been in GenBank for awhile) is specifically mentioned as one of two referenced Ashkenazi Jewish J1c7a (~ 6.5 ka) in Figure 9. These also appear in their full tree from the earlier paper "Mitochondrial DNA signals of Late Glacial re-colonization of Europe from Near Eastern refugia" Pala et al. (2012).
    From the supplemental material of the new 2013 article...

    "After the four major founders and haplogroup H, haplogroup J is the next most common haplogroup in the Ashkenazim, at ~7% overall. As with the haplogroup H lineages, these provide further substantial corroboration for the importance of Europe as the primary source for Ashkenazi maternal lineages. Ashkenazi J lineages are unevenly distributed but are, like those of H, rarer in the west Ashkenazim (~5%) and more frequent in eastern groups, peaking in Russian/Belarusian Jews at ~16% (Supplementary Table S6). Again, a striking feature is elevated frequencies of rare haplotypes. (This reflects in reverse the distribution in the Ashkenazim of the main putative west Mediterranean lineages, K1a1b1a, K1a9, N1b2 and M1a1b.) The mitogenome tree for haplogroup J is well-known, with several Ashkenazi lineages included, and it is straightforward to locate most of the control-region sequences within it, as described in the main text 30. As also discussed in the main text, at least 93% of Ashkenazi haplogroup J lineages, or 6.3% of total Ashkenazi lineages, have a likely European source (based on the frequencies in the control-region database, with lineages classified by cross-referencing to the whole-mitogenome tree 30."

    I believe the 2012 Pala paper concluded that J1 lines upstream of J1c were of Middle Eastern origin but that J1c was of European origin (specific area is not identified). However, there was some discussion on forums after the 2012 paper was published about whether there may have been 'back migration' of J1c into the Middle East. My closest full sequence mtDNA matches in FTDNA appear to be almost exclusively Ashkenazi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seferhabahir View Post
    I believe the 2012 Pala paper concluded that J1 lines upstream of J1c were of Middle Eastern origin but that J1c was of European origin (specific area is not identified). However, there was some discussion on forums after the 2012 paper was published about whether there may have been 'back migration' of J1c into the Middle East. My closest full sequence mtDNA matches in FTDNA appear to be almost exclusively Ashkenazi.
    I think the possibility of 'back migration' is just one of the problems with their analysis. Does anyone know the composition of mtDNA haplogroups and subclades in the Middle East, and specifically within the Jewish population, around 2000 to 3000 ybp? It likely included many of the same subclades that were found Europe at that time. Some may have recently expanded from the Middle East into Europe, others may have been in Europe earlier and back migrated to the Middle East. I don't think you can look at the modern distribution and say with any confidence where they originated.

    I looked at the 30 J1c7a samples in Genbank, there is a group of 14 J1c7a* that I estimate to have an age of about 4800 ybp, and those that list ancestry are:
    Swiss
    Ashkenazi/Lithuania
    Ashkenazi
    Hungary
    Germany
    England
    Ukraine
    Belarus

    There is a younger subgroup of 16 who share the additional mutation at 146, and these are Hutterite, Italy and several from Scandinavia. I would not conclude from this that J1c7a originated in Europe. It is equally possible that J1c7a migrated from the Near East into Europe 2000 to 4000 years ago.

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    "Cherchez la femme, pardieu ! cherchez la femme !"
    The Mohicans of Paris by Alexandre Dumas

    For some time now I came to the conclusion that widespread perception regarding male dominating admixture in Jews through proselytism and wide-scale conversion has little evidence. Therefore I had some expectations from this paper, apparently too much.
    But...

    "A substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi maternal lineages"
    Why do the authors put "prehistoric" when it's about historic times? It seems they struggle to emphasize that those lineages aren't just European admixture, they are "aboriginal".

    "The origins of Ashkenazi Jews remain highly controversial."
    Yes, if one follows a fallacy of the invented "Rhineland versus Khazaria" dichotomy. Much less though if one puts away popular agenda-driven compilations and tries to look in real historical research publications, where much more complex and fascinating picture emerges.

    "Like Judaism, mitochondrial DNA is passed along the maternal line."
    Another fallacy, coming from a misinterpretation and projection of the modern situation on the Middle Ages. There're plenty of evidence already pointing that usually early jewish communities were established by groups consisted mostly of males. When and where there was no legal ban on marrying a jew (no official state religion), no problem existed. Of course, wedding was a religious rite, where formal conversion is necessary, but there's nothing specifically Jewish in this precondition. It's not politically correct but in many places at that times a bride could be just bought. Anyway in a patriarchal society "conversion" means different things for a man versus a woman.

    My own H5c2 lineage is one of the minors analyzed in the supplement. However the authors didn't provide any new data, they just used 3 FTDNA tested sequences, 2 of them published by Behar et al (2012) and mine (self-submitted to Genbank). Would I not marked it as Ashkenazi, could they derive any conclusion? The other 2 are from USA residents claiming maternal German ancestry. For me this is not a scientific approach, even if a conclusion is likely to be right. There is no confirmed H5c2 scientific sample up to date and a few predicted by HVR designated as "Ashkenazi". I see other 12 H5c2 as my FMS matches at FTDNA, except for 2 above, they are either of known or probable Ashkenazi ancestry. While phylogenic constructions is indifferent to the origins of the testees, phylogeographical analysis demands for scientific sampling from local residents with known ancestry.

    This makes me suspect that in other cases where the authors used "private" sequences submitted by Behar last year, they didn't realized those may come with self-proclaimed ancestry not to be taken for granted.

    Update
    The supplements gave answers to some questions.
    1st - they widely used "private" sequences
    2nd - practically any chance to prefer interpretation of Mediterranean as Western/European over Mediterranean as Eastern/Anatolian/Levantine was used
    3rd - Greece represented by one sequence
    4th - "prehistoric" is a central word in the title. I would say, there's a hidden hypothesis in the paper, probably more important than the exposed one.
    It's "A deep, pre-Neolithic European ancestry for the great majority of European mtDNAs" contra Fu et al. (2012) "Complete mitochondrial genomes reveal Neolithic expansion into Europe.". The authors advocate "a predominantly indigenous origin for most European populations".
    Last edited by JaG; 10-10-2013 at 01:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JaG View Post
    4th - "prehistoric" is a central word in the title. I would say, there's a hidden hypothesis in the paper, probably more important than the exposed one. It's "A deep, pre-Neolithic European ancestry for the great majority of European mtDNAs" contra Fu et al. (2012) "Complete mitochondrial genomes reveal Neolithic expansion into Europe.". The authors advocate "a predominantly indigenous origin for most European populations".
    Even in the case of K1, for which they cite extensive evidence of a Near East origin, they conclude instead that it originated in Europe. So they seem to have a very anti-migration point of view. The conclusions of their paper are a direct result of their bias toward a European origin for most haplogroups that are found today in Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JaG View Post
    My own H5c2 lineage is one of the minors analyzed in the supplement. However the authors didn't provide any new data, they just used 3 FTDNA tested sequences, 2 of them published by Behar et al (2012) and mine (self-submitted to Genbank). Would I not marked it as Ashkenazi, could they derive any conclusion? The other 2 are from USA residents claiming maternal German ancestry. For me this is not a scientific approach, even if a conclusion is likely to be right. There is no confirmed H5c2 scientific sample up to date and a few predicted by HVR designated as "Ashkenazi". I see other 12 H5c2 as my FMS matches at FTDNA, except for 2 above, they are either of known or probable Ashkenazi ancestry. While phylogenic constructions is indifferent to the origins of the testees, phylogeographical analysis demands for scientific sampling from local residents with known ancestry.
    I'm a volunteer admin for the H5 project and I looked at the GenBank and FTDNA project H5c2 sequences. Most of the people tested are not in the project, and very few are specific about their background, but they seem to be all German and eastern European. One other person does list Jewish ancestry. Have you contacted any of your matches?

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